A tale of the present: How good is Pot of Desires?

One of the most controversial and at the same time anticipated cards in [tdil] is [potdes]. How good is it really? Will it completely shake up the format or does its strength depends on the metagame it can be played in?

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[potdes]’ effect is very straightforward. In exchange for banishing 10 cards from the top of your Deck face down, you draw 2 cards. This can only be done once per turn, but other than that, there are no restrictions.
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On the surface, this is an extremely strong effect since it allows you to simply draw 2 cards, netting a card advantage of 1 card, with the only requirement of having 12 or more cards left in your Deck. Recent “Pot” cards have often featured very restrictive requirements, examples include [podi] and [pori]. This new Pot is very similar to the rightfully Forbidden [pog] which can always be activated, so the only thing that determines the card’s balance is the secondary effect and how much of a drawback it really is.
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Pot of Greed
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It’s important to understand what exactly banishing cards face-down means, since this is a very rare effect:

  • You may look at your own cards that have been banished face-down.
  • Your opponent may not look at your cards that have been banished face-down.
  • Cards that have been banished face-down do not activate any effects unless they specifically state their effect activates when they are banished face-down.

After activating [potdes], you will know what has been banished and can adapt your strategy, but your opponent won’t, so you can trick them into thinking you still have cards available which you don’t, or make them think the card you need has been banished even though you have it available. However, there’s no way to turn the secondary effect into an upside since no matter what, your banished cards won’t activate any effects.
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So how big of a downside is it to banish more than a quarter of your remaining Deck?
The answer heavily depends on your Deck’s play style. In order to keep this analysis useful for future Decks, I will concentrate solely on play styles and avoid speaking about specific Decks.
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Combo Decks

exodia
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These are Decks that win by assembling a specific combination of cards and using them to win in a single turn, often without even attacking. Often, these Decks run 3 copies of most of their cards, so the probability of banishing all of them with [potdes] is very low. Many Combo Decks, however, need multiple copies of the cards in their Decks or only run single copies. An example of the latter is Exodia-based Decks. In this kind of Deck, [potdes] is extremely risky as it can make winning outright impossible.
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Control Decks

psy omega
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These Decks focus on generating card advantage for the player and denying it for the opponent. Even though many of them can be very explosive and end a game very quickly, they will gladly play a slow, long game and run their opponent out of resources. These Decks are generally not a good fit for [potdes] because they need their own resources and can’t play the long game if 12 of their cards are removed from their Deck by a single card.
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A notable card in this context, however, is [psy omega], which can return important cards that were banished by [potdes]. In a fast metagame where control Decks usually don’t access more than half of their Deck in a typical game anyway, the easy card advantage [potdes] offers can be very strong, while [psy omega] mitigates the risk of losing important cards. Control Decks can also often search for key cards before playing [potdes] in order to guarantee not to banish them.
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Aggro Decks

cstrike
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The opposite of a control Deck is a Deck that tries to end a game as quickly as possible using very versatile combinations of cards. They often have strong synergy and rely on combinations of cards, but they have so many possible combinations that losing some of them makes little or no difference. An example of a typical aggro Deck is Chain Burn, in which nearly every card can do some amount of direct damage to the opponent’s [lp]. While they don’t usually focus on card advantage, the downside of [potdes] is completely irrelevant for this kind of deck, so the card offers free card advantage. There is no reason not to use the card in an aggro Deck, which also very rarely contains seach effects, so there is no difference between cards banished by [potdes] and cards on the bottom of the Deck that won’t be accessed before the game is over anyway.
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Conclusion

There are only very few occasions in which [potdes] has a significant negative impact. One of them is a combo based Deck that loses several important combo pieces and is unable to get them back in time. Another one is a resource based, slow format in which running out of a specific option in your Deck puts you at a severe disadvantage, especially in the mirror match. But if the format is fast and your Deck has only very few, ideally searchable, key cards, the downside of [potdes] is negligible in most of your games and it ends up just offering a cheap and easy +1.

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